The Ethos of the Office

In addition to our helping to sweep out of the Masses of Peter, Paul, and Mary, one of the great gifts Anglican Catholics have to offer the Catholic Church is our love for praying the Daily Office. I'd dare say that we view the Office the same way many Roman Catholics view the Holy Rosary.

Sure, the the Anglican use of the Prayer Book is a simplified version of the Latin Rite's monastic Hours of the Church. And the current breviary of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours, is in use by some laymen and by the Roman church's clergy. I'm not suggesting at all that Rome doesn't have the resources available to those who look for them. I'm just saying that they're not being used. Most Roman Catholics here in the Liturgical Wastelands of New Jersey haven't heard of LotH or the Divine Office. We've got some work to do.

The Prayer Book Office is part of the worshiping DNA of the Anglo-Catholic Christian. It is the way we approach our daily visit with the Risen Christ. It is how we pray "commonly," with one another, with the mind of the Larger Church. Its simplicity is its beauty. You can add to it, you can say it briefly. Add the Opening Prayers or the Sacrosanctae. Pray without the additional prayers at the end. Doesn't matter. The sacrifice of praise is still offered, God's gifts of revelation are still given through the Scriptures prayed.

Before I started attending St. Anthony's, I certainly knew how to pray to God by myself. But the Office informed me how to join with angels, arch-angels, and all the company of heaven. Having a nice chunk of Anglicans join with the worship of the Catholic Church cannot help but encourage more Christians to encounter God through the Holy Scriptures, in the form of the Divine Office.

Once a new Liturgical form is approved for the Ordinariates, it's my hope that we share the Office with our brothers and sisters. And even beforehand, why not grab your Prayer Book, a Bible, and say hello? I find that the more people who are turned on to its timeless rhythm are attached quite quickly. I was.

(Pictured Here: The Launcelot Andrewes Press version of the Book of Common Prayer. It's available for $15, which includes shipping. It's a beautiful book.)

 

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